Migraine Management Tips
- Keep a Migraine Diary. A migraine diary helps to identify potential migraine triggers, establish patterns to attacks, and demonstrate the impact of the condition to GPs or other health professionals. Download a Migraine Diary Here
- Sleep is still one of the best ways to get through an attack, though not always possible.
- Lying motionless in a quiet dark room for a period is normally helpful.
- General pressure, perhaps in the form of a bandage, has also been shown to be effective, especially if applied to the temporal artery.
- Acupressure and self-massage are simple techniques that you can learn which may also be helpful when applied to the head.
- Many people find that the application of ice or cold water is a useful natural pain reliever. Others find that heat can be very beneficial, whether in the form of a hot wet towel, a warm bath or even through heating other parts of the body.
- If you spend a lot of time in bright environments or if you drive a lot, a good pair of sunglasses is a must. Wrap-arounds keep out more light than ordinary glasses, while high UV resistance and polarised lenses are other features that might help.
If your attacks follow a regular pattern for example if they are associated with menstruation be prepared. Have your medication to hand and try to schedule work commitments around the expected ‘migraine days’. Always have a Plan B at this time.
Avoid Your Triggers
Once you have identified triggers you can try to eliminate them. It is important not to become obsessive about trigger factors however, and recognise that there are some triggers that are outside your control such as your menstrual cycle or the weather.
Remember that you may have more than one trigger so concentrate on those over which you can have some influence – this may be sufficient to keep you below your personal migraine threshold. Also, don’t forget you may have a combination of triggers which may be more difficult to find and which is even more reason to keep the diary religiously.
Finding your stressors is half the battle. Controlling your stress levels is the other half. Using your leisure time effectively, keeping fit, and sleeping and eating well can help as part of a Stress Management programme.
Stress management techniques such as biofeedback, relaxation therapy, meditation and breathing exercises can reduce your chances of getting an attack. There are many more specific ways which you as an individual can improve your lifestyle and as a result, improve your resistance to migraine. You may not be able to eliminate stress entirely from your life, but it is certainly important to contain it. http://www.beaumont.ie/marc
Take regular exercise, but make sure it is something you enjoy or you will be unlikely to stick to it. Get plenty of fresh air. Consider walking to work in the morning instead of taking the car or taking a walk in the park at lunchtime. Don’t overdo the exercise as this can act as a trigger.
Food and Drink
Low blood sugar (hypoglycaemia) can trigger attacks, so try not to go longer than five waking hours without eating. Slow-release foods are also advisable, for example cereals, bananas, pasta, potatoes.
Drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration. The average person needs between one and two litres of water per day. In warm weather or when exercising you may need more. Low blood sugar levels can also trigger attacks after exercise.
Limit your intake of drinks containing caffeine or alcohol. If you currently drink a lot of either of these reduce your intake gradually to avoid withdrawal symptoms.
If screen flicker is a trigger, make sure to take regular breaks. Use screens of 100Hz or above. Even better are plasma screens which have no flicker at all.
Work related stress can be improved by managing your time properly, taking proper breaks and by eliminating unrealistic targets.
Ensure that ventilation indoors is good and try to keep rooms at a constant temperature.
Avoid large reflective surfaces (such as plain white walls) – break them up with plants, pictures etc.
Take care with your posture at work especially to avoid tension in the neck and shoulders. Ensure that your working environment is as ergonomically designed as possible to avoid unnecessary twisting, stretching and bending.
The ‘migraine brain’ likes routine so it is a good idea to maintain regular schedules. Some people note a rise in migraine occurrence at weekends or when on holiday, often due to a break with daily routine. In general, sticking to eating, resting, exercise and sleep routines is a good idea for migraineurs, even at weekends.